Taking a moment to share the magic of the garden with a child can be the most rewarding thing you could ever do.
Lifetime Memories For Me
Can you recall your first memory when you knew deep down inside that you had a connection with nature, plants and all the beauty of the outside world? I am sure you can. As you recall that memory, I will share one of mine.
I was seven years old and spring had finally arrived. The grass was turning green, leaves were forming on the trees and soon flowers began to pop up everywhere. The flowers I speak of were dandelions but to me they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The dandelion is the perfect flower to a child. It is simple, accessible, plentiful and begs to be picked and enjoyed. As the flowers fade, the magic continues and again to a child, the best part is soon to be revealed. Those little white puffs are even more irresistible than the flowers themselves. It is so incredibly awe inspiring to watch those seeds drift up into the air and be carried away to create new plants somewhere else.
I loved the dandelion so much I would pick several for my mom along with any other little flower I found. I picked until my little hands could hold no more and I ran to the house with my treasure. "Here mom! I picked these for you!" She accepted this small offering of my "weed" flowers as if I were presenting her with a dozen roses. Reflecting now, I realize that meant a lot to me back then. Children are always looking for ways to gain approval and acceptance and though, technically only "weeds", these little flowers helped forge the foundation for my love of the outdoors. One day, I will share the story of my dandelion garden with you.
To this day, I love dandelions. I still consider them remarkable flowers. The dandelion is an icon for the memories and the love formed for growing plants and will forever be one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.
Lifetime Memories For Us
"What's this daddy?" Before I have a chance to answer, my son answers the question himself. "Purple Robe?" I tell him he is exactly right and on we go with our little game as I do the watering. I find the memory of a three year old to be amazing. I only had to tell him the name of most of the flowers once. Now he knows the name of nearly every plant in the garden. He cannot pronounce all of the names correctly and when he gets to the hollyhock, it sounds like Iroc and it makes me laugh every time.
I am trying to pass along the love of the garden, nature and all the life contained within to my son. I do this by involving him and allowing him to explore, experiment and play. Nothing is off limits and although he will sometimes pick fresh flowers off a favorite plant, I praise his efforts. The garden is there for his exploration and enjoyment.
Once the naming game is over and I have finished the watering, I take up my regular spot on the first ledge by the pea vines. My son realizes it is that time once again. He joins me on the ledge and he helps me inspect the tangled vines. "What about that one?" he asks with his angelic, inquisitive voice. "Nope, it's not fat enough." "That one?" I inspect it closely and it is indeed perfect. I snatch the pod from the vine and work my fingernail down the seam. I open it slowly so none of the peas spill. The thrill of my son's anticipation is evident by his gasp of delight. I hold the pod out for him to pick the peas off one by one and he pops them in his mouth as if they were candy. "Mmmmmmm! Delicious!" "Absolutely, my son, absolutely."
About Benjamin Hill
I am an old fashioned gardener. To me nothing is finer than the romantic cottage gardens. The colours and forms create a symphony to delight all the senses. I love to tell a good story and my garden provides my inspiration. I am blessed to have such a beautiful son and I enjoy teaching him to love and appreciate the goodness, peace and fulfillment tending a garden can bring. Finally, I shall be forever grateful to Alan Titchmarsh for inspiring me to get out there and make something out of a little bit of earth.